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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 3:19 p.m., Saturday, December 8, 2007

Protest planned this morning over harbor parking fee

Advertiser Staff

Surfers, boaters, paddlers and fishermen will gather this morning to protest the Department of Land and Natural Resources proposed amendment to Hawai'i Administrative Rules Section 13-233, which would allow harbors statewide to charge a fee for parking.

Organizers said protesters have been asked to meet at 8:30 a.m. at one of three locations: the Ala Wai Harbor "helipad" parking lot; Magic Island parking lot, or McCoy Pavilion. The march will start at 9 a.m. when protesters will walk out to Ala Moana Boulevard.

Common Ground Hawai'i, a coalition that supports free beach and ocean access, with the support of Surfrider Foundation, Da Hui O He'e Nalu and Save Our Kaka'akowill be organizing this weekend's event.

One of the first harbors expected to be affected by this rule change is Ala Wai Harbor, which has proposed contracting a private parking management company and installing a gate to the entrance of the harbor.

Drivers would have to pull a ticket to enter and pay as they leave.

Surfer and Common Ground Hawai'i board member Melissa Ling-Ing said, "This weekend's march will show that the people do not support this rule change. Many people use this harbor daily to surf, fish, and paddle. This is the only access to some of the best surf sites on the south shore of Oahu."

Besides the access issue, Ling-Ing is concerned the matter could turn into a safety issue.

"People, who can't afford to pay the undisclosed parking rates, may park at Ala Moana Park and try to cross the harbor channel to surf and dive outside of Ala Wai Harbor."

Common Ground Hawai'i which has collected more than 1,500 signatures in opposition of DLNR's proposed administrative rule change, is asking marchers to wear red shirts and to bring signs and ti-leaves to wave.